Businesses are being urged to make their staff happier through song, by signing up for the North East’s first Workplace Choir of the Year contest.
Durham Music Service is offering to help companies set up and run singing groups, who will go on to perform Christmas carols at Ushaw College and compete at Durham Cathedral.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “Singing triggers all four happiness hormones – dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxycotin – and being in a choir is a great way of bringing colleagues together, be they from the boardroom or the shop floor.
“When you sing together each voice is as important as the next. It’s an extremely unifying experience and the ultimate team building activity.”
Durham Music Service will work with firms that sign up to the scheme to create a bespoke choir programme, to maximise the benefits for both staff and businesses.
That will include fun taster sessions to recruit staff into a choir; generally almost four months of weekly hour long rehearsals with one of the service’s talented conductors; a set list tailored to the abilities of the singers – which could cover anything from Abba to Handel; as well as everything needed for the performances at Christmas and as part of Durham Vocal Festival 2019.
Michael Summers, who manages the service, which is part of Durham County Council, said: “There is considerable scientific evidence that starting a workplace choir has great benefits, including improved staff happiness and togetherness, improved teamwork, reduced workplace stress and sickness levels, and it is a great way to boost talent recruitment and retention.
“It’s also a unique opportunity for businesses to celebrate the talents of their employees.
“And we are incredibly lucky in Durham that we have magnificent venues like Durham Cathedral and Ushaw College that can ignite musical aspiration and provide happy experiences and memories for many years to come.”
Workplace choirs typically range from 12 to 50 members – although they can be much larger.
The full programme costs £4500 plus VAT, which includes all costs linked to rehearsals, performances, venue hire, lighting and sound, judging and providing staff with many months of fun, unique experiences that will have a lasting impact.
Any business interested in signing up for the Workplace Choir scheme should contact Durham Music Service by calling 03000 262 368 or emailing [email protected].